Rossi up to 2nd in standings
After a challenging start to Round 3 of the World Series by Renault Championship in Monza, Italy, American driver Alexander Rossi ended the weekend with a very strong drive to second place and has climbed his way back up to 2nd place in the Championship standings.
|Rossi salvaged a 2nd place in Monza|
The American driver started Saturday morning’s qualifying session for race one strongly and was running in P4 and just 0.07 seconds off pole. Unfortunately, Rossi suffered a car failure halfway through the session and was unable to set a time in the second half of the session, which saw him line up 16th for the first race of the weekend.
In race one on Saturday, Rossi made a strong start in his Fortec Motorsports car. By the end of the first lap he was up to P14. Despite having suffered severe tire degradation and flat spots during the opening laps, Rossi continued to battle strongly throughout the race and eventually crossing the line in 11th position. Despite a difficult qualifying session and race, Rossi was still able to maintain his third place in the Championship upon conclusion of Race one.
For Sunday’s race two, Rossi lined up in seventh on the grid after the second qualifying session of the weekend, just 0.32 of a second off P1. The start of race two was full of incidents with a number of cars jump-starting the race and an incident at turn one, however Rossi kept his nose clean and carved his way through the field.
By the end of lap one Rossi was up to P5 and closing in on Wickens. Rossi spent the next few laps pushing hard to close the gap to P4; setting the fastest lap of the race on lap three and then again on lap five.
A lap later, Wickens was tagged into a spin by Costa. Wickens went off into the gravel and was forced to retire while Costa dropped back a couple of places; elevating Rossi to P3. With second placed Ricciardo squabbling for position with race leader Vergne, Rossi was able to close right up on the back of Ricciardo and begin to challenge him for 2nd position.
|Again Rossi showed he has the speed to compete in F1|
Continuing to push hard and looking for a way past Ricciardo, Rossi set a personal best of 1.39.243 on lap 12. Over the next few laps the gap to Ricciardo opened up a little as Rossi’s rear tires were dropping off, however by lap 19 Rossi was back on the pace and again set the fastest lap of the race.
Rossi spent the closing stages of the race on flying laps but there was no way past Ricciardo. Rossi crossed the finish line in P3 but race winner Vergne received a 10 second penalty for cutting the track which elevated Ricciardo to P1 and Rossi to P2 and his third podium of the season.
Alexander Rossi comments; “It’s certainly been a mixed weekend. Saturday was a really tough day and one of those race days you just need to draw a line under and move on from. Today was a much stronger day and the race pace of the car was very good. I was pleased to finish in second place in the race as well as move back to second place in the Championship. We’ve now got ten days of hard work before we head to Monaco for the next race in the Championship. It’s a challenging track but I raced there last year and always feel comfortable on street circuits so our expectations are high. Qualifying is vital in Monaco. It is such a narrow track making it hard to overtake so our focus will be on securing pole position on Saturday.”
Jamie Dye, Team Manager, Fortec Motorsport, concludes; “After the challenges of yesterday, it was great to see Alexander have a strong race and to secure his third podium of the season so far. We now head to Monaco, which is a unique circuit in the Championship as it is the only street circuit on the calendar. We have been quick there in previous years so we have every faith that Alexander can be challenging for another podium finish.”
Alexander Rossi now heads to Monaco with 73 points and second place in the Championship, 17 points behind current Championship leader Vergne.
Next up for World Series by Renault, Monte- Carlo, Monaco, May 26 -29 alongside the Formula 1 World Championship.